Some Resilient Design Principles
1 Resilience transcends scales. Strategies to
address resilience apply at scales of individual buildings, communities,
and larger regional and ecosystem scales; they also apply at different
time scales—from immediate to long-term.
2 Resilient systems provide for basic human needs.
These include potable water, sanitation, energy, livable conditions
(temperature and humidity), lighting, safe air, occupant health, and
food; these should be equitably distributed.
3 Diverse and redundant systems are inherently more resilient.
More diverse communities, ecosystems, economies, and social systems are
better able to respond to interruptions or change, making them
inherently more resilient. While sometimes in conflict with efficiency
and green building priorities, redundant systems for such needs as electricity, water, and transportation, improve resilience.
4 Simple, passive, and flexible systems are more resilient. Passive
or manual-override systems are more resilient than complex solutions
that can break down and require ongoing maintenance. Flexible solutions
are able to adapt to changing conditions both in the short- and
5 Durability strengthens resilience. Strategies
that increase durability enhance resilience. Durability involves not
only building practices, but also building design (beautiful buildings
will be maintained and last longer), infrastructure, and ecosystems.
6 Locally available, renewable, or reclaimed resources are more resilient.
Reliance on abundant local resources, such as solar energy, annually
replenished groundwater, and local food provides greater resilience than
dependence on nonrenewable resources or resources from far away.
7 Resilience anticipates interruptions and a dynamic future. Adaptation
to a changing climate with higher temperatures, more intense storms,
sea level rise, flooding, drought, and wildfire is a growing necessity,
while non-climate-related natural disasters, such as earthquakes and
solar flares, and anthropogenic actions like terrorism and
cyberterrorism, also call for resilient design. Responding to change is
an opportunity for a wide range of system improvements.
8 Find and promote resilience in nature.
Natural systems have evolved to achieve resilience; we can enhance
resilience by relying on and applying lessons from nature. Strategies
that protect the natural environment enhance resilience for all living
9 Social equity and community contribute to resilience.
Strong, culturally diverse communities in which people know, respect,
and care for each other will fare better during times of stress or
disturbance. Social aspects of resilience can be as important as
10 Resilience is not absolute. Recognize that incremental steps can be taken and that total resilience
in the face of all situations is not possible. Implement what is
feasible in the short term and work to achieve greater resilience in